Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Front Porch.

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What I think that I know about life, growth, and evolution, is that I do not let go of things, or surrender, until I am damned good and ready. At times, this can create immense suffering for me; for in holding onto to anything in this life, we suffer. However, I also trust my inner knowing to indicate to me when I am ready to release something that has felt scary to let go of.

 

Last weekend, I spent some time in West Brookfield, Massachusetts, a quiet, sleepy town that I spent much of my lifetime in. I didn’t live there my whole life, yet it is the closest place to feeling like home to me to this day. The charm and quaintness were only shadowed by the presence there of members of my family. And the house. That amazing, old, character filled, memory laden house. I came to that house when I was only a few months old, and have been physically craving visits in it the rest of my life. And, this week, it was sold to a person that I will most likely never meet, and who will now take it forward into the next phase of their life.

 

This particular chapter, which was a lifelong one, has been closed. And, I was finally ready to let it go.

 

Two years ago, that home was still occupied by my Aunt Ruth, and her cat, Josh. Before that, it was she, and my grandparents, and before that, it was my grandparents, Ruth, and her three siblings, one of which is my dad. A lot can happen in two years, and in these past two years, Ruth has died, Josh has come to live with us, and the home that I knew only as hers for more than twenty five years has been sold.

 

And, I’m good. I am ready to surrender all of that. 

 

When I visited the house last winter, the feeling when I entered it was sharp, biting. There was an edge in it that hurt when I would bump against it. But, at that time, she had only been gone for a couple of months, and everything seemed to still feel sharp and edgy. Being there was a flood of memories, and I spent time sitting in each room of the house, opening closets and drawers, smelling the smells and taking in the details of it as if I had never seen them before. I felt a sense of abandonment, as if I was abandoning it and her, as I walked away that day. 

 

Last weekend, the goodbye was different. I didn’t feel her in there anymore, and it didn’t seem to have anything to do with it being empty. It seemed to have more to do with her flying high, and long gone from the tethers of the physical world. She is so free that she is everywhere. At least, that is what I believe.

 

The front porch is one of my favorite spots there, and one that I will miss the most. And, although I don’t live in the past, nor do I even focus on my personal history much anymore, I will recall with deep love the times of sitting on that porch, watching people walk and drive by, saying hello, talking with Ruth while the breeze  was coming through the screens. One last time, Brenda and I sat on that front porch, soaking up all that had been there. Deepening our readiness for change. 

 

After all,  none of life is there, in those four walls. It is in Me.

 

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What Love Is.

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For three days, my kitty Joshie, who belonged to my dear Aunt Ruth, went missing. I let him out on a balmy summer evening on Saturday, and he didn’t come back home that night. Or the next night. Or the next. He has stayed out all night once before, but never for three nights in a row. I was frantic. I was sad. I was not ready to never see him again.

 

Of course, I imagined all sorts of terrible things: that he had been hit and killed by a car. That he had been hurt by a wild animal and was wounded and dying in the woods somewhere near our home. That he was ill, and went off to be alone. My mind was wild with stories, and as soon as I would feel a glimmer of hope, that he might just come back home, I would feel a longing for him, and create another tale of worry.

 

Yesterday, I made a commitment to myself: that I would deepen my love and appreciation for him, and all that he brought to my Aunt Ruth’s life, and to our lives in the last eighteen months. What that meant, is that I would be in the present moment, as much as possible, and not focus on the past stories or future predictions that I wanted to create in my head. I wanted to love him, regardless of whether or not he would ever return to us.

 

This morning, as I was walking out of the house for work, he was at the door, as if he had never been gone. He was hungry, dusty, and unscathed. I had no way of knowing where he had been or what had happened, and I didn’t care. But I more deeply understood in those moments after that what love really is to me.

 

Love is letting go- of expectation, of anticipation, of the future and the stories of the past. Love is acceptance, of people and circumstances just as they are, not the way that we want them to be. Love is forgiveness, of ourselves and others, for not being perfect or the way in which we might expect. Love is deep appreciation and gratitude, for all that we have in this very moment. Love is not holding on tightly out of fear or control, and it isn’t meant to be disappointing just if it doesn’t go my way.

 

Love is here, Love is now, Love is available whenever we say yes to it. 

 

It Is that simple. 

 

Being a Human.

Last month, I published my first book. It is stories and photographs of all of my many journeys with hugs so far. And, it has been an amazing ride. I have hugged so many beautiful humans, and learned so much about myself in the process. And, last night, I had the deep privilege of hugging a few dozen more of them, blindfolded on the streets of Scranton. 

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I have learned many things about myself as I have been on this journey, about surrender, forgiveness, expectations, and being in the present moment. And, for the most part, I live in those realms in my daily living, and when I am not there, am able to do what I need to in order to get back there.

 

But yesterday, I felt more human than usual. What felt like a difficult circumstance came up in my life, and my first response was anger. Of every range of emotion that there is for us humans, anger is the one that I have the most difficulty with understanding and processing. Of course, I also know that anger is nothing more than another form of fear, but in the moment yesterday, I was pissed. I felt hatred. I wanted to lash out and attack people, and felt very justified in that feeling. And, although I know that I am a human being, and that I am imperfect, and that I will go through these difficulties at times, I also don’t like it when I feel something that I don’t know what to do with.

 

So, I gave myself over completely to my street hugs last night. I had already planned to go downtown and hug with a blindfold, which I had not done since my first street hugging experience three years ago. And, I don’t think that I really knew how much it would bring healing to me last night. Until it happened. 

 

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Humans, just being themselves. Being vulnerable. Sharing a moment with me that for most of them, brought me to tears. A sharing of hearts, souls and moments that are imprinted on me. 

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With every hugging experience, I understand more deeply that it is not me who is bringing something to others; it is the sharing of the hug with one another. The blend of two beings, two souls, and the experience of our universal nature, our sameness. I am filled with a deep honor and reverence for sharing those intimate moments with my fellow Light Beings. 

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Thank you. For reminding me of the beauty of being a human; and how much we all share with one another. 

Teacher/Student, Suffering/Acceptance.

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There has been deep wisdom that I have opened to most recently in my life. Learning that I would no doubt encounter at some point, but the Now is the best time to be learning it. And even though some of the lessons that I am now learning, are in the same form as in the past, the learning is completely transformed at this time. I am finally ready. 

 

The areas that I have been learning in the most are around being a teacher, and a student; and around suffering, and surrender. No matter who you are or what your life circumstances are, I believe that all of these areas are Universal lessons for all humans. For the earliest years of my life, I was formally and informally a student. Before I was conscious of learning, when I was a baby and small child, a slow, deliberate process of domestication brought teaching to me, and although I was initially passive in the learning, I retained all that I was given. As I got older, and was able to be aware of the learning more acutely, I would receive lessons that were part of formal schooling, and seek out additional topics and learning opportunities that were more interesting to me. I have always enjoyed being a formal learner, and would joke that my career would be to go to college forever. College was the breeding ground for special learning it seemed, because I got to choose what courses to take and what interested me. It was a marketplace of choices and topics.

But, around that time, interesting shifts in me began to occur. I began to see myself as full of knowledge, and stopped having the desire to learn, and just wanting to teach. When I got my undergraduate degree, I wanted to start working because I believed I knew all that I needed to in order to be a great social worker. I wanted to teach others all that I had learned, so that I could get on with saving the world. And, I put my formal learning on hold, thinking there was not much left to learn about how to help others. 

Eventually, I did resume some formal learning, and saw how much more there was to know in the world. I started seeking spiritual teachers then as well, and was eager to gain as much knowledge as I could, emulating my instructors and thinking that was the way to believe and think. And, then again, wanting to become a teacher in the world, believing I had the best of information that others needed. With that, I would also stop being willing to learn, thinking, this has to be IT, everything that I need to know. 

My other big area of lessons has been in the realm of suffering, and what that means, in terms of my human experiences, and what stories that I tell about it. I used to believe that suffering and difficult experiences were all part of the human condition, that we all have bad things happen in our lives. And, terms of fact and structure, I still hold that to be true. Bad things happen. Yet, the degree to which we suffer over the circumstances and events that happen is directly related to how much we accept life as it is, or don’t. I would often blame the outside world, or my girlfriend, or God, or traffic or other fellow humans for my degree of suffering: it is all their fault. And, if I had a bad experience, and didn’t feel sad or distressed about it, I thought there was something wrong with me; to suffer over my circumstances seemed like a way to pay homage to it. To honor it. 

My current belief is that even a person or circumstance is what leads me into sad, angry, or distressing feelings, I still have the power to choose; to choose what type of story I want to tell myself about it. I also ALWAYS have the power to choose to remember that the present moment, right Now, is all that there ever is. This moment. And, when I am able to be in this present moment, and to accept whatever comes in it, as just being what it Is, the suffering is less. Surrender brings great freedom and deep relief. Choosing surrender and experiencing peace honors the events of our lives in a deeper way, because it means we are in deep acceptance of the fleeting, ephemeral nature of all things. 

These two pairs of experiences and beliefs are actual paradoxes of one another, but ones that are required for the other to occur. That is the part of wisdom that had been lost on me for the first 50 odd years of my physical existence. In order for me to learn how to surrender, there has to be the experience of suffering. And, for me to be able to teach others, I have to always be willing to learn. One does not exist without the other. And yet, even though I resist, I get scared, I don’t want it to be true, I know that it is the only way that I will learn that which are the deepest truths of my life. 

This moment is all there is; and I want to experience it as deeply as possible with no promise of what may come next. 

 

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Unconditional Love.

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I have been a fraud most of my life, and the first time that I admitted that a few years ago, I was so scared to put the words to the page. Terrified to let others know the truth about who I was underneath, after having such a shiny veneer surface in the world for so many years. It is only in the last few months, literally, that I have pulled back the veil and really gotten to the nuts and bolts of who I really Am.

 

Does this sound confusing? Believe me, it has felt like a cyclone of thoughts and feelings for me, over my lifetime and more specifically, in the last couple of months. I have come to terms, rather, come to some realizations about the real Truths that make me, me. And, the result is feeling more free, peaceful and loving than I have, ever in my entire life.
Does this sound impossible? Dramatic? It has felt like the ride of my life, yet where I was meant to come to within myself all along. Let me tell you more. When I say, I have been a fraud, what I mean is that I have had a beautiful, cheery exterior. On the outside of my soul vessel, I would project an image of happiness, self confidence, intelligence and light. And, most of the time, I felt some or all of those things. However, I felt those positive things about myself, by whatever was reflected back to me. So, if someone was interested in what I had to say, and thought that I was smart, then I would radiate that. If a person was attracted to or interested in dating me, I radiated that outwardly. If I lost fifty pounds and liked what I saw in the mirror, then I beamed.  I took the outside world as evidence of the truth that I should be or display.

 

The other edge of the sword however, was that when the outside stimuli that I would take in was what I perceived as negative, or not encouraging toward me, I would deem myself as unworthy; bad; fat; ugly; dumb. I took the perceived words and truths from others to be my truth. So that was the first of many of my problems: that I believed whatever the outside world told me that I was or should be, and saw that as the real truth not only about who I was, but who I had to project myself as. 

 

However, the biggest way in which I was fraudulent, was that I pretended, not only to the outside world, but to myself, that I was never resentful. Angry. Disappointed. Judgmental. Petty. If I admitted that I had those aspects that lived in me, then what kind of human was I? And, when I did admit them out loud, I would immediately attack myself internally, because I believed that made me a bad person. Frankly, an asshole. And I had spent a lifetime trying to believe that I wasn’t an asshole, but never quite got there. I started being more transparent about this a few years ago, with others and with myself, but didn’t really have the lessons sink in until quite recently. I still didn’t see my true essence.

 

At the beginning of this year, however, something seemed to shift in me. It wasn’t because it was a new year, and I wanted to start with a clean slate; I don’t wait for a new year, start of the week or something else to begin getting happy. Something about it just felt like a time for shifting. So, slowly and surely, over the last three months, my conversations have been more genuine, I have talked about my own vulnerability and perceived ugliness more openly and consistently, and began tuning in more to what would really feel good to do for myself. I see my sameness with everyone else that I encounter. I started meditating, just a few minutes each morning. I went to Reiki, for the first time in my life, and was tuning in more deeply than I ever had before. 

 

And, slowly and deeply, I began to shift. The shift feels subtle at the same time that it feels like an earthquake. I have awakened my chakras within me, and I can see my own light bursting forth. And, even though my light has shone in the world for many years now, I never saw it. Not as the pure love, peace and adoration that it is. I see my own Light. I see it clearly and I am not afraid of it anymore. My heart is more open than it has ever been. And, I understand, not just as a saying, but as a practice, that it has to and can only begin with me. 

 

My essential nature is Pure Love. Yours is, too. 

 

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